Queensland and Victoria Best in State Rankings 2021
After publishing our Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales rankings last week, it’s now time to turn our attention to the updated state listings for Queensland and Victoria. We’re adding another ten tracks to our Queensland chart to create a new Top 40 and we’re pushing the boat out a tad further for Victoria by launching a Top 100 for this state, which is what we’ve just done for NSW.
Casting the net further and deeper gives us more of a chance to promote places that might normally miss out. Of course, we’re all about highlighting the very best courses in any geographical area but it’s often nice to stray just a little bit away from the elite level to discover one or two lurkers – especially in the more remote regions – that fully deserve closer inspection.
Let’s get cracking then with Queensland, where we start off with a new No.1…
The course at Brookwater Golf & Country Club outside Brisbane rises one place from the runner-up slot to take over at the top of the Queensland standings. Designed by Bob Harrison when he was lead architect for Greg Norman Golf Course Design early in the new millennium, the course was softened somewhat by Norman’s firm a few years ago thanks to the removal of trees, grass plantings and rough. Greens were also upgraded with new playing surfaces which were reshaped and re-contoured, along with new drainage lines.
Brookwater Golf & Country Club
It’s still a tough track, but it’s one that recent reviewers really enjoyed playing: “the visuals are simply extraordinary, breath taking, the smells, the sounds, the scenery is all consuming… I’ll never forget the challenge and the experience; it was the best course I’ve played and that includes every good track in Melbourne… this course is not for the faint hearted and will clearly favour the player with a strong ball flight… Brookwater is a very impressive course, but it is tough!”
Climbing three places to #3, the course at Hamilton Island Golf Club on Dent Island is a Peter Thomson/Ross Perrett co-design that’s strung out across spectacular ridges and steep valleys, presenting golfers with a challenging test from start to finish – and there’s plenty of fabulous views of the surrounding Whitsunday Islands and Coral Sea to enjoy along the way. The logistics of planning and constructing this island layout defy description but the concerted efforts to make it all happen on such a difficult site are to be greatly admired.
Hamilton Island Golf Club
The biggest upward move in our new Queensland rankings is made by the Robert Trent Jones Jr-designed course at the Palmer Coolum Resort next to Yarooma Beach (advancing nine places to #13), which is the chart position it held two revisions ago. It’s true to say the resort, owned by controversial billionaire Clive Palmer, has endured something of a torrid time in the last few years, but the golf course is definitely on the mend. Conditioning is still not perfect but the bones of this strong layout remain for all to enjoy.
Palmer Coolum Resort
The highest chart newcomer at #27 lies two hundred kilometres south of Coolum and it’s another Palmer-owned layout at the Palmer Colonial Resort in Robina. Originally opened as Paradise Springs in the early 1990s, at the height of the Australian golf boom, this 18-hole layout was designed by Mitsuaki Kobayashi for the Japanese development company that built the resort, with fairways routed around several lily-adorned lakes.
Palmer Colonial Resort
Incidentally, astute observers will note there are actually twelve new entries for Queensland in the table below (not ten as previously mentioned) because the closure of the North Lakes and Paradise Palms courses has resulted in those two dropping out of our state listings, replaced by another two.
|2||Royal Queensland||Down 1|
|3||Hamilton Island||Up 3|
|4||The Grand||Down 1|
|5||Hope Island||Down 1|
|6||The Glades||Down 1|
|7||Sanctuary Cove (Pines)||No change|
|8||Pelican Waters||No change|
|9||Pacific Harbour||Up 1|
|10||Lakelands GC||Down 1|
|11||Sanctuary Cove (Palms)||No change|
|12||RACV Royal Pines (Gold & Green).||No change|
|13||Palmer Coolum||Up 9|
|14||Arundel Hills||Up 2|
|16||Twin Waters||Up 1|
|17||Indooroopilly (West)||Down 3|
|18||Noosa Springs||No change|
|20||Palmer Gold Coast||No change|
|21||Maroochy River||Up 5|
|22||Bribie Island||Up 3|
|23||Palmer Sea Reef||Up 4|
|24||Kooralbyn Valley||Down 3|
|25||Palm Meadows||Up 3|
|26||Indooroopilly (East)||Down 2|
|27||Palmer Colonial||New entry|
|31||Nudgee (Bay)||New entry|
|32||Noosa GC||New entry|
|37||Gainsborough Greens||New entry|
|39||Mount Coolum||New entry|
|40||Mirage CC||New entry|
Click the link to see full details of our latest Queensland Top 40 rankings.
There are no surprises near the top of the Victoria state rankings where the leading three positions are occupied by World Top 100-ranked tracks. All three courses remain in the same place which means the West course at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Blackrock retains its #1 status.
Royal Melbourne West course
Mark White, one of our regular contributors, wrote this in his course review for the West: “the bunkering throughout the course is superb… rarely can one get up and down from the greenside bunkers. The greens are excellent, they are well shaped, the appropriate size for the required shot into them… it is a gem of a course and clearly the best in Australia and one of the best in the world.”
Rising nine places to #4, the North course at Peninsula Kingswood Country Golf Club in Frankston makes significant progress in our revised state standings. Since Peninsula Country Golf Club and Kingswood Golf Club merged in 2013, the combined club has gone from strength to strength, thanks mainly to the brilliant course makeover on both the North and South courses that was carried out by Ogilvy Clayton Cocking Mead between 2016 and 2018 (before Mile Clayton left to join forces with Mike DeVries and Frank Pont in a new design firm).
Peninsula Kingswood Country Golf Club North course
The Gunnamatta course at The National Golf Club soars an incredible fourteen places to #6 after the wonderful refurbishment of the club’s former Ocean course at Cape Schanck by Tom Doak and his team at Renaissance Golf Design. Greens were rebuilt and re-shaped, the routing altered and bunkers reduced in size and number, prompting one recent reviewer to write: “Doak took the old Ocean course, which was a bit soulless and, quite frankly, joyless, and built a course full of guile and charm, rather than brute strength and punishment.”
The National Golf Club Gunnamatta course
Further down the table, the course at Sorrento Golf Club reverses a four-place fall two years ago by moving seven spots in the opposite direction to #26. The club’s 18-hole layout was brought into play in 1929 and was then modified by Peter Thomson and Mike Wolveridge in the 1970s but it’s the improvement work currently undertaken by Crafter + Mogford Golf Strategies that is really capturing the attention of seasoned observers as the design firm strives to realize the full potential of this outstanding members’ course.
Sorrento Golf Club
The highest new entry in our Victoria Top 100, arriving at #37, is the course at Lonsdale Links in Point Lonsdale. The club’s original 9-hole layout was set by George Lowe Jr. – the professional at nearby Barwon Heads and son of George Lowe who designed Royal Lytham & St Annes – exactly 100 years ago in 1921. Vern Morcom expanded the layout in the mid-1950s before it was subsequently redesigned when additional lakeside land was acquired.
Lonsdale Links - photo courtesy Airswing Media
A variety of further modifications have taken place since the 1980s, but it’s the startling remodel by Ogilvy Cocking Mead that’s caught quite a few people by surprise. OCM has created a southern hemisphere version of C.B. Macdonald’s National Golf Links of America on Long Island – albeit on a more modest scale on the Bellarine Peninsula – which features classic template holes like the Redan and Biarritz, giving unsuspecting Australian golfers a flavour of some classic Golden Age design.
|1||Royal Melbourne (West)||No change|
|2||Kingston Heath||No change|
|4||Peninsula Kingswood (North)||Up 9|
|5||Royal Melbourne (East)||No change|
|6||National (Gunnamatta)||Up 14|
|7||National (Moonah)||Down 3|
|9||National (Old)||No change|
|11||St Andrews Beach||Down 5|
|13||Cathedral Lodge||Down 5|
|14||Peninsula Kingswood (South).||Up 4|
|15||Dunes Golf Links||Down 4|
|16||Barwon Heads||Down 1|
|17||Yarra Yarra||Up 2|
|18||13th Beach (Beach)||Down 4|
|19||Moonah Links (Legends)||Down 3|
|22||Port Fairy||Up 2|
|23||Spring Valley||No change|
|24||Moonah Links (Open)||Down 2|
|25||National (Long Island)||Up 1|
|27||Sanctuary Lakes||Up 3|
|28||RACV Healesville||Down 3|
|29||13th Beach (Creek)||Down 1|
|30||Black Bull||Up 4|
|31||Settlers Run||Down 2|
|33||Eastern (South)||Down 6|
|37||Lonsdale Links||New entry|
|38||Heritage (St John)||Up 2|
|40||Heritage (Henley)||Up 2|
|44||Sandhurst (Champions)||Down 1|
|45||Yering Meadows (Nursery)||No change|
|47||Sandhurst (North)||Up 2|
|48||RACV Cape Schanck||Down 1|
|49||Sands Torquay||Down 1|
|51||Growling Frog||New entry|
|56||Rosebud (North)||No change|
|57||Lakes Entrance||Up 3|
|59||Rosebud (South)||New entry|
|61||Eagle Ridge||Down 3|
|62||RACV Torquay||New entry|
|64||Sandy Golf Links||New entry|
|66||Gardiners Run||New entry|
|72||Waterford Valley||New entry|
|73||Berwick Montuna||New entry|
|75||Green Acres||New entry|
|76||Patterson River||New entry|
|78||RACV Goldfields||New entry|
|82||Yarra Bend||New entry|
|85||Hidden Valley||New entry|
|86||Mount Martha||New entry|
|89||Werribee Park||New entry|
|91||Bay Views||New entry|
|92||Riverside GC||New entry|
|93||Clifton Springs||New entry|
|94||Box Hill||New entry|
|98||Lang Lang||New entry|
|100||Mt Derrimut||New entry|
Click the link to see full details of our latest Victoria Top 100 rankings.
Top 100 Golf Courses